Review: Viking Dead - Toby Venables

Title - Viking Dead
Author - Toby Venables 
Year - 2011
Stand Alone or Series - Stand Alone
Pages - 316
Reading Time - January 2012


976 AD – Northern Europe. BjÓlf and the viking crew of the ship Hrafn flee up an unknown river after a bitter battle, only to find themselves in a bleak land of pestilence. The dead don’t lie down, but become what the villagers call draugr – the undead – returning to feed on the flesh of their kin. Terrible stories are told of a dark castle in a hidden fjord, and of black ships that come raiding with invincible draugr berserkers. And no sooner has BjÓlf resolved to leave, than the black ships appear... Now stranded, his men cursed by the contagion of walking death, BjÓlf has one choice: fight his way through a forest teeming with zombies, invade the castle and find the secret of the horrific condition – or submit to an eternity of shambling, soulless undeath!

The Setting: Northern Europe. The Time: Dark Ages. The Participants: Vikings vs Draugr(Zombies). What can go wrong? 

Bjolf and his Viking crew attack a village only to find it destroyed by another Viking party. As they flee they arrive at a strange place (also in the north) but with strange rituals. There they must battle not only other viking but also undead viking. The ending was fitting to the tale and leave an open door to a sequel if the author needs to return. 

The characters are likeable and as we learn more about them we familiarize not only with Viking way but also the other and most numerous northmen that live in those lands. Vikings were the invading parties that set to plunder and conquest. The other northern had nothing to do with them. As the real vikings also this band is composed mostly by nothern man but also people from other lands. British residents , Rus, Sammi. Pretty much anyone who wanted to join. 

The Draugr were a really legend from the northern man and so it was interesting to see them in a book. The way they came to being was also innovative because The ending as I said was good but at the same time dissapointing. The zombies were made by people from the future. Time Machines and such. But that didn't prevent me to enjoy the tale and that's what's important. 

The short chapters make the story flow and action, history lessons, beasts and landscapes fill the pages.  Another criticism was the way he used the characters. Some characteres enrich the setting but in the end most of them were forgotten.  I would suggest to anyone who enjoys zombies, vikings and action centered books.
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